With the weather forecast showing less than ideal conditions for today, we decided to stay in Peterborough. It's not often that the Weather Bureau gets their information correct but in this case they were spot on. The day consisted of isolated showers with winds from 35 to 50 km/h during the day and the gusts were even stronger.
Too pass the time we drove north to Orroroo for a lovely hot chocolate in the local cafe and later I drove around looking for caches but only found one. The remainder of the day was spent inside the van reading and looking at the Internet to while away the time. At 20:00 the winds outside were still quite strong with enough force to rock the van.
Diatance today 85 kms.
We left heading north with the winds coming from the southwest at 20 to 30 km/h, which was an improvement on yesterday. We again passed through Orroroo and continued heading north but both the driver and navigator, missed the turnoff to Craddock and Hawker. It wasn't until just before Wilmington that we realised our mistake, so we continued onto Quorn and camped at Warren Gorge.
Our site was on a rise looking down the gorge. The flies were in abundance here and we were again thankful that we had our fly nets. Apparently the warmer temperatures have brought them out earlier than normal.
Distance today 148 kms.
We were woken during the early hours of the morning by heavy rain, and once daylight arrived we were surrounded by low clouds that gradually disappeared by the time we departed. We passed through Quorn as we headed north to stop at Kanyaka Ruins,
before stopping in Hawker to refuel and have morning tea at one of the local cafes. We continued north for another 70 kms before we turned off the bitumen to travel east through Brachina Gorge. We were on our way to camp at Aroona Ruins in the northern Flinders Ranges National Park, and on the way had to negotiate many rocky creek crossings, and pass many designated camp sites before arriving at our campsite.The campground is surrounded by the ABC and Heysen Rangers and our campsite overlooked Aroona Creek. Nearby are the ruins of the homestead, built by John Hayward. He arrived here in 1851 and discovered a permanent spring and established Aroona Station with over 3000 sheep. In 1854 he had constructed a five room house that had a continuous supply of running water from the spring. All that remains today are the house foundations, several crumbling walls and fruit trees planted by him. The view from the ruins down the Aroona Valley is spectacular. Again the fly nets were used whenever outside the van.
Distance today 183 kms.
We woke this morning to the coldest morning of our travels. It was four degrees inside the van. The weather for the past three days has been anything but ideal, but this morning we have the most magnificent morning without a cloud to be seen. Retracing our steps through Brachina Gorge we again turned north on our way to Leigh Creek where we refueled, and do any last minute shopping, before tackling the Oodnadatta Track.
Farina was established in the 1870's in the hope that grain could be grown in the area. The town grew to about 600 people with consistently good seasons but years of drought forced the town's closure. Farina is now a ghost town but a restoration group is preserving the beautiful sandstone buildings and roads.
Distance today 179 kms.
Much warmer this morning with thirteen degrees inside the van and another day with cloudless skies. First port of call this morning was Marree, a further 50 kms on which is the starting point for the Birdsville and Oodnadatta Tracks. We stopped whilst I found another cache, before proceeding onto Lake Eyre South which is twelve metres below sea level. We had lunch in the van to escape the ever present flies and later I found another cache.
This is our the 4th trip along the Oodnadatta Track. It is a great route to travel from South Australia to the Northern Territory, and it is much more interesting than the sealed Stuart Highway.The track follows the route of the old Overland Telegraph Track and Great Northern Railway. There are ruins of fettlers huts, railway sidings and telegraph stations to explore.
Showing the giant water softeners used to prepare water pumped from deep underground bores for the steam locomotive. Water softeners were used to remove harmful minerals from the bore water that caused heavy scaling on the boilers of the steam trains.
Distance today 259 kms.
September 21:Another beautiful day with lovely clear skies and fourteen degrees inside the van. We stopped along the way to take photos of wooden sleeper's left from the Ghan Railway days. They are found all along the track and we always take one to use as firewood, as they make the best coals for camp oven cooking.
The Algebuckina bridge over the Neales River is probably the main highlight on the track that is just over 600 km's from Marree to Marla. The railway bridge was and still is the longest in South Australia at 578 metres, and the river is the longest on the Oodnadatta Track. The bridge first opened in 1892 and replaced a low level one that was continually washed away when the river flooded.
The waterhole is by far the best along the Oodnadatta Track and makes for a lovely camp in such dry surrounding country.
Distance today 144 kms.
We slept with all the windows and door open last night because the van interior temperature was still twenty eight degrees when we retired for the evening. Another beautiful morning with van temperature at eighteen degrees and another glorious day ahead. We ventured out for our first cup of coffee for the morning before the flies arrived in their thousands.
It was another late start this morning with just on 60 km's to Oodnadatta for a fuel stop. The wind had picked up again and we were driving into a severe head wind. The Pink Roadhouse provides services for locals and travellers which include fuel, postal facilities, meals and repairs.
Instead of continuing on towards Marla we decided to travel 90 km's SW from Oodnadatta to Arckaringa Station, where we thought we would spend the night, but arriving earlier than we expected, and with the strong winds blowing and whipping up great dust storms, we decided to continue on towards the Stuart Highway. It was more enjoyable sitting inside the ute with the air con on.
Once we left the Oodnadatta to Coober Pedy road heading towards Arckaringa Station the road deteriorated badly. The Painted Desert is on Arckaringa Station and that was the reason for our detour. But to do the area justice you would need to be here for sunrise and sunset to get the full benefit of the changing colours.
Distance today 395 kms.
Another lovely morning with van temperature at twenty two degrees and light winds from the south. As soon as the sun appeared, the batteries started to charge so we turned the fridge back on, and over the next hour or so everything was back to normal. By now we had transferred all the freezer contents from the van to our Engel fridge that was now running as our freezer. We left heading towards the Lasserter Highway were were turned west for the run to Yulara, and into another strong head wind that was playing havoc with my fuel consumption.
We stopped at the Mt Conner lookout for a photo,
Total bliss tonight, and its five days since we have been able to have our drinks and dinner outside the van with just the occasional fly around and without fly nets. We left the van off 240v power this evening and just ran with the vans 12v system but just before midnight the system shutdown again at 11.4v.
Distance today 416 kms.
Apart from our battery problems we woke this morning to another beautiful day. Van has been on 240v power since last night. We are now fully aware that the van batteries are unable to hold their charge overnight, and that's even with the fridge switched off. Our batteries are two months short of lasting five years so I suppose we can take comfort in that. Looks like either Kalgoorlie or possibly Perth for new batteries. We have a Honda generator that we can use, over the next fourteen days until we arrive in Kalgoorlie. Filled up with diesel here at Yulara at $2.22 cpl and the man behind me was groaning about paying $2.45 cpl for unleaded.
Distance today 10 kms.